An Open Letter from BLM Inland Empire

tometi, garza, and cullors

‘BREAKING: Black Lives Matter Inland Empire Announces Departure from BLM Global Network’, Feb. 4, 2021 by leftoutmag.com (my bolds)

“Recently, a group of BLM chapters known as the BLM 10 has come forward to voice their concerns and opposition to the Global Network. Those concerns, along with the egregious conduct the Global network demonstrated on Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, have brought us to the conclusion that continuing to remain silent would be an act of betrayal. While the issues and problems that have been raised have been well known within our circle for years, it prompted many questions & concerns for us locally. We’d like to let the community know everything outlined in the statement put out by the BLM 10 is valid. We’ve also reached out to the BLM 10 and offered to sign on in support. Hopefully, we can provide insight and clarification into our chapter’s history, our relationship with the global network, and our commitments going forward.

When BLM IE first started, we were originally known as the Black and Brown Underground (BBU). In 2015 we were approached by an individual named Patrisse Cullors, who offered us an opportunity to join the Global Network and organize as a Black Lives Matter chapter.  After hearing her proposal, we believed that our work, direction, and principles aligned and agreed to join the network; renaming ourselves Black Lives Matter Inland Empire in the process. We were told that the organization we were joining was decentralized and leaderless, but we quickly discovered that was not the case. The Global Network is a top-down dogmatic organization that promotes certain chapters that choose to align with their direction and sequester the ones that don’t. For us locally, that chapter has been Los Angeles.

For years, the leadership of the Los Angeles chapter has aligned with the Global network and One United Bank to impose on various chapters, particularly ours. We believe that while doing this they received substantial donations and funding, despite them continually soliciting the community for donations.

Together, the Los Angeles Chapter along with the Global Network have consistently tried to strong-arm other groups and  have worked to undermine a grassroots movement by capitalizing on unpaid labor, suppressing any internal attempt at democracy, commodifying Black death, and profiting from the same pain and suffering inflicted on Black communities that we’re fighting to end. In spite of  being ostracised, receiving no financial support, and the maltreatment from both the Global Network and Los Angeles Chapter we’ve maintained our composure while working to the benefit of our community and victims of state sanctioned violence.

Clearly, we do not have the same beliefs or sense of ethics. We no longer feel, as we initially did, that our politics align. As a result, we are announcing that we are no longer associated or connected to the BLM Global Network. As an attempt to distance ourselves, we have decided to rename part of our organization The Black Power Collective while we restructure.

The use of the BLM name, which we believed was intended to unify our struggle, has been commodified and debased. It is now being used to sell products, acquire book deals, T.V. deals, and speaking engagements. We have no interest in these pursuits, and we are opposed to the movement to substitute Black capitalism for white capitalism. It has become clear that the Global network and certain figures have platformed our struggles with the sole purpose of exploiting our labor.

Furthermore, the issue of greatest concern for us is the relationship between the Global Network and the Democratic Party. This is hypocritical at best, as the Democratic Party has historically rejected and ignored BLM’s demands and has made it clear that they are pro-police, pro-prison, and committed to capitalism. From Obama’s support of police and his double-cross of Erica Garner, to “Top Cop” Kamala Harris’ denial of justice for Matrice Richardson, even going back to the 1994 Crime Bill authored by Joe Biden along with the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act that stripped basic human rights from countless Black peoplethe Democratic Party has literally created the conditions that led to the formation of this movement. Even now, the Democratic party continues to support imperialism, killing African heads of state, bombing Somalia, abusing immigrants (including those of the Black diaspora), and spreading the U.S. military throughout Black and Brown countries around the world. This is a party that is a threat both here and internationally. To ally with them is to ally against ourselves.

The BLM10 statement calls out the lack of financial transparency and power moves by Patrisse Cullors and others. The actions demonstrated by the Global network have provided proof that the Global Network is essentially a steering committee acting in the best interest of various fractions within the Democratic Party. Additionally, the creation of the Black Lives Matter Political Action Committee is a violation of our collective agreement. This agreement was composed of two rules: 1. We do not work with police, 2. We do not endorse politicians. We had hoped that those rules would protect our struggle from being corrupted by the nonprofit sector or absorbed into the Democratic party. However, it now appears that the same fate that many activist groups before us fell victim to is the same fate that the BLM Global Network are destined to face. They have not only aligned with a political party, they’ve used the finances they acquired from a massive uprising during a global pandemic to create the aforementioned BLM PAC.

We believe that all finances should be clear and transparent to the Black community. We also believe they should be controlled by chapters that adhere to a democratic structure along with community checks and balances. Leaders that appoint themselves can no longer serve or be seen as leaders.  We can not accept charismatic figures imposing themselves as dictators, nor can we support personality cults.  In the spirit of Audre Lordre  and Ella Baker we believe that, ‘’…the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house” and that “…strong people don’t need strong leaders”.  To that end, it is imperative that we engage in the struggle with our own tools and work to build a stronger people.

We would also like to address the violent rumor-mongering directed towards a member of our group who was maliciously accused of being a member of law enforcement. These slanderous accusations came from a leader of BLM LA and a  figurehead of the Global Network. These accusations were nothing but an attempt to duck accountability for the way members of national leadership have treated victims of police brutality and a violation of their own policies. The bullying and attempts to silence smaller chapters and individuals who speak up must end.

Let us be clear, we are not the authors of the discord within our movement.  Malcolm X encouraged us to handle our differences behind closed doors, but all attempts at that have failed. This corruption has thrived in part due to our silence and for that we must apologize.
Hide nothing from the masses of our people. Tell no lies. Expose lies whenever they are told. Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures. Claim no easy victories…”-Amilcar Cabral

………………………………………………………………………………

As there was no link to the BLM PAC, I’ d Bingled and had found Politico had announced the formation of a BLM PAC on Nov. 9, 2020:

“On the heels of nearly six months of nationwide demonstrations that sparked an international movement against systemic racism and police violence, Black Lives Matter is expanding its influence into politics by forming a political action committee — a highly unusual move for a grassroots organizing group with no central leadership.

The Black Lives Matter PAC will formally roll out its programs as early as Monday, according to Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter. The committee plans to endorse a slate of candidates ahead of the general election, paying special attention to mayoral, county sheriff and district attorney races.

“We want to be able to not just speak in ‘get out the vote’ language,” Cullors said in an interview with POLITICO. “Black Lives Matter is launching our PAC so we can talk directly to voters about who we think that they should be voting for and what we think they should be voting on.”

And indeed they’ve rolled it out.

“Early voting is now open. Vote on or by January 5 for Warnock and Ossoff.”

I’d clicked the DONATE button to find:

‘Your donations will help us elect progressive community leaders, activists, and working-class candidates fighting for Black liberation.’

Their PAC’s opensecrets (center for respsonsive politics) page.

“This outside spending group does disclose its donors to the FEC, but no non-generic donors/employers have been identified that have contributed more than $1000. Donations from affiliated organizations are excluded when calculating the top donors. Donations to parties and traditional PACs can be found in the PACs section.”

From their Twitter account:

To say their page suffers form a dearth of Information would be putting it mildly.

(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)

14 responses to “An Open Letter from BLM Inland Empire

  1. Wendy,

    It seems like you’ve been hacked.

    I have an email from someone purporting to be you with this message:

    Thanks so much, you can get it at any (Walmart, Walgreens, Target, Kroger, Best Buy, Safeway or GameStop) store around you and the total amount needed is $400 Google play gift card in ($100 denominations). Once you get the card Please scratch off the back of the card to reveal the code, then take a picture of the back showing the code and have them email it to me here so I can forward it to her.

    This behaviour is part of some kind of scam going on: https://support.google.com/googleplay/answer/9057338?hl=en

  2. …using your MSN.com address and a different gmail.com address.

    • Ditto, except from only the first address and nothing like the info above, just short and sweet. It’s not suspicious except that it does lack a certain familiarity with names.

  3. Yep, hacked indeed. I got the following from a wendyedaviss at gmail:

    It’s my niece’s birthday and I need to get her a Google play gift card, but I can’t do this now because I’m currently traveling out of town. I’ve tried purchasing online, unfortunately no luck with that. Could you get it from any store around you? I’ll refund as soon as I get back.

    Please let me know if you can handle this.

    kind regards, Wendy

    This is so unlike you that I never even responded. But you should probably look into it. And, oh, btw Hi!

  4. Btw this is dancingrabbit from c99p where I also rarely go these days. Had forgotten I changed my wp screen name …. My mind, what a terrible thing to lose (or some such from somewhere I’m probably mis-quoting. sigh)

  5. good gawd all-friday, has my email account been hacked! although apparently the messages are quite varied. greyson, could you forward the one with a gmail address? it’ll go to junk mail, as the other horror for me is:

    the hacker/s stole my entire contact list, well over 200 of them. i’ve changed my password twice this a.m., and at a friend’s sugestion download a trial copy of ESET security system, and am running the scan now.

    sadly, i think microsoft allowed it, as they not longer support the msn home page where we get our email (@msn.com) more reasons to loathe bill gates.
    they stopped supporting window 7 awhile ago, but sure, let’s jump to 10! no matter all my software works w 7, including word and the IE (they no longer support) needed to create hyperlinks in word documents.

    i know i’m whingeing, but i’m pretty flipped out, and of course slept little, blaming myself for all of it. i’m sure sorry for the inconvenience, and you’d all know better than i, but you might want to run your anti-virus, anti-malware programs…just in case.

    nice to see you all, sorry the circumstances pretty much…suck.

    • No inconvenience here, dear wendlily. Just do what you can to keep yourself upright and don’t fret any extra.

      • kind of you, my friend. luckily i’d cannibalized two set of used crutches (i call them my ponies) a couple days ago, and made one almost-good pair. earlier i’d pimped them out with floral cushioned pads, hoooo-eeeee!

    • I’ve forwarded the entire exchange to your MSN.com account. Much the same verbiage as what others have reported here; though I took it seriously for a bit.

      One thing you could consider is getting a gmail account; they have two-factor authorization that would reduce the risk of being hacked.

      Microsoft has 2 factor authorization, maybe MSN has it too, idk.

  6. thank you; but how odd-bodkins is that one’s from wendedaviss@gmail.com?

    some folks i’ve heard from only got this:

    “I hope this finds you well. Could I ask you a Favor?

    kind regards, Wendy”

    • Me too. I almost fell for it. It buhooves us to take note: for all the “security” provided via password “protection”, the best passwords are the ones we come to know from our dear dialog partners. Not that there has to be an explicit agreement upon some shibboleth, I still wouldn’t rule that out as recommendation to those of you/us who see fit. Anyway, my point is, it eventually dawned down on my mind that wde wendily would have at least used my name or, alternatively, some attribution I recognize.

      • good on you and your intuition, davidly some of them i’ve seen have my full name in all caps, as well. crikey, though, i’m going to be fielding emails for a long time now; just 21 in my junk box overnight.

        many are the mercenary kind, too, the equivalent of wimpy;s: ‘can i pay you tuesday for a hamburger for my dear niece today?’ arrrrgh. i’m also flashing on how many journalists were on my contact list whose work i had asked to republish. actually, the news vandal’s made it into my inbox, dunno yet what it says. he was the first to call bullshit on pierre and the intercept, and good on him.

  7. I got that one also, wendye. Hence my gabble on previous posts. I figured the favor must have been to come here and bloviate — so sorry!

    • no apology needed, ww. i’m glad you’ve commented, but will need to read them later, okay?it was heartening that so many said: ‘sure i’ll help; what do you need?’ including voices from my now-distant past.

      will it take to do ‘clean up on aisle Babylon’? the new ESET internet security thingie ran for 10 hours, picked up very little to clean, but it’s so complex i can’t make much sense of it.

      and brrrrr; it’s 9 degrees here. oddly i can’t get a cursor into this comment box.

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